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Peregrine wishes he could set Tillian free. But he is an aging dragon deafened by his mining career, making him dependent on the keen ears of a weasel friend. Peregrine needs Tillian to relay the world to him, unless he makes himself into something other than a deaf old miner.
When a dreaded plague menaces the land, Peregrine has no more time to delay his choice. He must fly for supplies on weakened wings, while Tillian nurses critically ill strangers. Separated for the first time in Tillian's life, they will work for the same cause: saving the young mage Rose and her dying village. In light of this mission of mercy, Peregrine decides to leave his selfish ways behind -- which means leaving Tillian, whether she wants to live for herself or not.
Heidi is a chef-trained waitress from northern Ontario, Canada. When she's not playing video games or cooking, Heidi likes using biology and cultural trivia as building material for her original fantasy worlds.
Peregrine stared into the distance, eyes flinty. Wind whistled in the endless grass.
“It's something you'll never need to worry about.” He glanced over his shoulder, like the dratted plains couldn't keep a secret. “But korvi waste as they get old, usually the labourers and other folk who don't have a daily need for flight. It's a disgrace to watch. Perfectly good wings shrivelling on the vine ... I'm not going to be like that.”
That was a statement tall with pride, just like Peregrine. Miners moved plenty, though. Peregrine had shoulders like a sure cliffside, and legs and tail as tough as rope. He picked Tillian up with whim's ease and he never let himself be anything but capable. Peregrine's kind must not have cared about things like that if they couldn't fly. Tillian supposed she would miss the sky, too, if she had ever been part of something that big.
She forced her ears higher – because she was thinking right now, but she still had to listen. Peregrine was surrounded by wind, and grass, and larks singing, and crunching stems underfoot. Normal things. There was also quiet packed between the two of them. She looked to Peregrine's set mouth.
“Really,” she said, “you're doing better than a lot of people would.”
“Because a lot of people misplace their good sense.” He paused, watching the grass tops. “Truly, though ... I suppose I want to fly places like I used to, whenever the idea strikes. As I did when I was young.”
He made himself sound eons old. Long ago, when the land was new, Peregrine of Ruelle travelled whenever he pleased.
“If you could work any trade,” Peregrine said, “which would you choose?”
Tillian sat straighter, ears splaying: she had never wondered this before and the question hit her like cool water. What would Tillian the earferrin be if she weren't an earferrin? Arts leaped to mind – skills like Giala's sculpting and sketching and music. She could learn those simply enough. But no, Peregrine had said any trade, not just the ones Tillian happened to live alongside. She thought like a korvi, flying over all the possibilities, imagining every skill people had ever learned. If she had lived differently enough, maybe Tillian Sri would tell folk to call her Sri.
What will readers like about your book?
Remedy has a worldview rarely seen in magical fantasy. It's is populated entirely by non-human sentients and they are treated as people, not "talking animals" or plot devices. It's a science-fiction-like social structure applied to more traditional fantasy ideas like magic and peasant villages. Readers may also appreciate the positive reading experience. While the Aligare world does have problems and suffering, its people believe in working together for the common good.
Why did you self publish?
Remedy isn't strongly similar to anything well-known on the adult market, so traditional publishing treated it as unmarketable. I think it's unhealthy to shun "weird" ideas like that. Where are new avenues supposed to come from if no one is willing to try something unfamiliar? I self-published because I want readers to decide for themselves whether my approach to fantasy has merit.
What is your writing process?
I don't really have a set process. I keep a text file of partially-formed story and character ideas, which sometimes merge together into whole stories, or I might just start hammering down a new idea once I think of it. My writing output varies widely from day to day, depending on what I'm thinking about.
How long does it take you to write your first draft?
I'd say that a rough draft takes me a year and there's always some rewriting after that. I avoid common formulas, so it takes me a while to fiddle with a new story and get all the parts working.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
Years ago, I read a blog post pointing out that fantasy/sci-fi disabilities often aren't disabilities at all. A character can have a devastating injury glossed over with spells and herbs, or they can receive cybernetics that work better than their original body, Magic and highly advanced science can solve problems so neatly that they trivialize the original loss. I had already supposed that my keen-eared ferrin race could be assistants to people with hearing loss, so I started developing Peregrine the hearing impaired miner and his assistant Tillian. The core of the Remedy story is Peregrine rearranging his life so that his inabilities don't define him -- or entrap his loved ones.